Chapter 21 - Hot bath (+18)

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I'm pacing in my room, Hermione and Ron are sitting on my bed. It's five thirty and I'm staring at the Marauder's Map in my hands as if my life depended on it.

The past hours have been excruciatingly painful. We have searched into the whole castle, we tried numerous Summoning Charms around the parc, but there was no trace of Malfoy at all. The spell the headmistress has tried didn't worked out well.

Our last chance to find him today is to wait for the sun to set. After that, if the snake falls asleep, Malfoy could turn into Malfoy again, and I would be able to find him on the map.

Since it's winter, plus the fact that we are located rather on the north of the country, the sun is already disappearing at the horizon. Everything is getting dark outside. I start nibbling the nail of my thumb, my eyes searching the name of the Slytherin boy on the map. A couple of minutes pass, my tension level is at his highest.

Suddenly, I freeze.

"He appeared on the map!" I shout excitedly. (They jump on their feet.) "He's... in the Greenhouse!"

Of course! This is the only place warm enough for a tropical snake to survive. We leave the dormitory in a hurry and run to the Greenhouse as fast as we can. I need to find him, I need to check on him, to be sure that he is fine. And I want to find him before anyone else.

We enter the first Greenhouse and search the place. It only takes us a minute to spot Draco, huddled up on the ground, naked, shivering.

"Draco!" I cry out.

He jumps in surprise and looks at me in shock.

"P-p-p-potter" he stutters, confused.

We walk closer to him, but suddenly Hermione realises he isn't wearing anything. She blushes and turns round.

"I swear I saw nothing!" she says in a high-pitched voice.

Ron rolls his eyes to the ceiling. We had prepared some clothes earlier, she took them with her. She hands me a sweater and a pair of jeans, still looking at the ceiling. I kneel near Malfoy.

"Are you alright?" I ask worriedly.

His teeth are chattering.

"I-I-I'm feeling my best" he mocks.

I help him putting the sweater on, he can't stop trembling. His skin is cold as ice...

"How did you end up in here?" I wonder.

"I-I don't know..." he says helplessly. "I th-think the s-snake was seeking a warm place s-so, it came in here."

His body has a violent spasm. I slide my arm under his right shoulder to support him, Ron imitates me on the left side. We get him back on his feet. I help him to put one leg after the other in the jeans. He's shaking so much he can't stand up on his own. I'm holding him tightly against me. Relief is running through me like an overwhelming wave, I'm so glad to see he's safe and sound that my heart is beating really hard against my ribcage. I can hear my blood pulsing into my ears. It takes me all of my willpower not to hug him in front of my friends.

Harry, mate, you're completely losing control... I tell myself rather sourly. You can't fall for a Slytherin!

"It's all right, we will bring you back to the Gryffindor Tower and we will warm you up, okay?" I murmur.

"H-how much time did-did I spend here?" he asks.

"The whole day..."

"Hermione" Ron sighs. "Turn around, this is getting ridiculous."

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